Long Melford boy's Choc for Champs appeal seeks Easter Egg donations in support of young carers
The mother of a 11-year-old boy, who is dedicated to empowering young carers with the support of his own project, has praised her son for being a compassionate child.
Blake Leonard, from Long Melford, has been caring for his mother, Libby, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, since the age of five.
Determined to support other young carers, Blake established Chocs for Champs last year.
The project appeals for donations of Easter eggs and selection boxes at Christmas, which are then distributed to young people across the county by Suffolk Family Carers.
Thanks to the support of the community, 500 eggs were donated last year – an achievement Blake is hoping to replicate this Easter.
Despite managing his own responsibilities, Mrs Leonard said her son, who is a pupil at Ormiston Sudbury Academy, had remained dedicated to raising awareness of the pressures involved in becoming a young carer.
“He still has that capacity to think about other people,” said the mother-of-two. “He’s incredibly caring and is a very compassionate child.”
Highlighting the impact of living with a degenerative disease, Mrs Leonard explained how Blake had played a vital role in helping to boost her quality of life.
“Some days you just want to give up when you’re living with an aggressive problem,” she said. “But he figures out how to fix it – he inspires me every day.”
While attending a monthly group run by Suffolk Family Carers, Blake is able to socialise with other young people coping with the same responsibilities.
“It’s amazing for him,” said Mrs Leonard, of Withendale Lane. “When he gets back, it’s like the light switch has been turned on.”
After delivering an inspiring speech about his experience as a young carer at the Houses of Parliament last year, Blake received a Points of Light award from then Prime Minister Theresa May.
Determined to raise further awareness about the challenges of his role, Mrs Leonard said her son is aspiring to become an elected member of the Youth Parliament.
“He can make sure that young carers get the right support,” added the 40-year-old.
Drop-off points for donated Easter eggs have been set up at Ormiston Sudbury Academy, Paul James Blinds in Sudbury and The Only Way is Beauty in Long Melford.
More by this authorPriya Kingsley-Adam